Geography and History
Okiep is a small town in the Northern Cape province of South Africa. In the 1870s, Okiep was ranked as having the richest copper mine in the world. The town is on the site of a spring that was known in the Khoekhoe language of the Nama people as U-gieb (large brackish spring) and was originally spelled as O'okiep. Okiep is the oldest mining town in South Africa where copper was first discovered and mined in 1855.
Okiep is situated 8km north of Springbok and the town echoes the copper’s boom years. Nine-hundred defenders, mostly Cape Copper Company employees, built nine blockhouses and repulsed General Jan Smuts’s forces’ concerted efforts to take the town. Today, on a hillock, only the remnants of the stone walls remain.
Anglo-Boer War - The remains of the Crows Nest Blockhouse on a hill north east of Okiep fell to the Boers and was occupied by them for most of the siege before being retaken. Fort Shelton saw the major part of the action during the siege and was manned by a 6 pounder gun. Graffiti, made by the Cape Town Highlanders and Cape Garrison Artillery, can be seen in the Okiep East Mine while casualties from the war were laid to rest in the Okiep graveyard.
Cornish Pump House - A steam engine which is fully intact and the only remaining pump house of its sort in the Southern Hemisphere, were used from 1882 to pump water from the mine.
Fort Shelton - Between Okiep and Concordia. The main fortification of the Home Guard during the Siege of Okiep from 1 April to 23 May 1902.
Geological Sites - Klondike and Magabreccia sites can be seen in the surrounding area.
Smokestack - Built by the Cape Copper Company as a ventilation shaft in 1880, now a national monument
Accommodation in Okiep includes a Hotel and Guest lodges.
|Okiep Tourism Office Information|